Ah the studio flat, the rabbit hutch of modern living?
Could you or I live in one?
Possibly, definitely, no?
We’re no strangers to small spaces.
We’ve lived separately in 2 up 2 down terraced homes up north.
A tiny detached bungalow, together, in Cheddleton, near Leek in Staffordshire.
But could we live in a studio flat in say Norwich or Manchester (not London though)?
Odd term: studio flat.
Makes the apartment sound fit for a film crew, with directors, leading actors, actresses, and extras – when the reality is somewhat different.
It’s living in one room.
A caravan, if you like, albeit permanent.
But is that a bad thing?
We had a touring caravan up to 2013 and loved it as a family.
Its minuscule proportions and space saving technology was wondrous – a dining table used to form a bed, a rear dining area converting to a single sleeper and a fridge that doubled up as a shower.
We spent one month touring France with it in 2013 (the Loire Valley) and it still ranks as one of my most favourite holidays of all time and one of the most comfortable.
So with experience of living in a 6 berth caravan for 28 days firmly under my wine-soaked belt, I don’t think a studio flat would faze us in retirement (which I have started at just 51) when our two children fly the nest.
I’ve already mentally prepared for it: on my birthday in April, my wife, to everyone’s amusement, arranged a secret trip to Milton Keynes, a place we all love.
The usual suspects visited in the giant mall, day two was spent in IKEA, a place beloved of us as there isn’t one near us in Norfolk.
This company has mastered minimal living – and I’m not just talking small food portions with meatballs and chips – they have sections where a studio flat with precise dimensions has been staged so you can really see what living in 10 square feet of space is really like.
We could get this closer to home if I were to say get arrested for some heinous crime and put in a cell.
It wouldn’t though, I’d imagine, have the conveniences of an IKEA studio flat with sofas under beds, toilets in a sliding shower cubicle and a ubiquitous Billy bookcase.
We also stayed in a Cotel serviced apartment in MK which was spacious, with 3 bedrooms and a central location to die for, for serial born consumers like me.
I could live in MK, I really could.
I’ve just been commissioned by several companies to ghostwrite articles for them.
The studio flat was one area I was asked to focus on.
Norfolk, as you’d expect, has wide variations in prices for these modern hutches – £90,000 for one in Norwich with other towns further away from the city commanding prices half of this (except for North Norfolk, Chelsea on Sea).
- But would dining, sleeping, cooking, bathing in one room grate longer term?
- Would the lack of separate spaces jar?
- Is a garden, or access to a communal garden, necessary for emotional wellbeing?
- Or would access to the fine city of Norwich or Manchester more than compensate?
I wonder too about the recent news that people are now remaining at home with parents or even returning, following job loss, separation or divorce.
The terraced homes we began independent life in cost me £18,500 in Shaw, Oldham, and £33,500 for my wife’s pied à terre in Leigh, Lancashire.
We enjoyed living in each, despite my having to put the police on “Friends and Family” with British Telecom given the constant crimes I witnessed: burglary, sneak-in burglary, car crime, anti-social behaviour etc.
My son, if and when he goes to university, will no doubt sample studio flat living or, horror of horrors, a shared house; so we will see at close quarters what living in one is really like.
I do honestly think though that when we downsize again we will go to a city, and enjoy its proportions, low energy costs and city centre facilities in studio flat heaven.
If you live in a studio flat, please comment, leaving pros and cons points, on what it is truly like.
You can tweet me too – I will respond too!